Black Lives Matter Leader Warns Clinton of Convention Protests

Susan Page, USA Today, June 29, 2016

A  leader of the Black Lives Matter movement warns that activists are prepared to protest the platform at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia next month, citing the congressional sit-in on the House floor last week over gun control as a possible model.

“There are two things that I’m mindful of: One is that I’ve not seen a draft or a final version of the platform from the Democratic convention committee, and I think that will have a big bearing on how people mobilize,” DeRay Mckesson told Capital Download. “The second is that Congress just sat in, so it’ll be interesting to see how the DNC responds to people in protest, given that congressmen literally just sat in and they seemed to validate that.”

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“I would not say that this is an election that is between the lesser of two evils,” he told USA TODAY’s weekly video newsmaker series in an interview that took place at the Aspen Ideas Festival, where Mckesson was speaking. “I think that this is an election potentially between a candidate that people are rightfully really concerned about and a candidate that is evil.”

The “evil” candidate is Trump, he said, then elaborated on his qualms about Clinton.

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If the Democratic platform doesn’t endorse a $15-an-hour minimum wage, strong criminal-justice provisions and community oversight of police departments, “I think that you will see protests around the issues,” he said. He credits Clinton with proposals to address the wealth gap between whites and minorities and to increase funding for civil-rights enforcement by the Justice Department. But he said activists also would be looking for increased powers for the Justice Department and attention to issues such as civil-asset forfeiture–provisions that allow law-enforcement agencies to seize and keep property they say was involved in a crime.

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“What’s real about Hillary is she will not be able to govern without a coalition of people of color,” he said. “She won’t be able to get elected without black people or Latinos. She won’t be able to govern without them. It is unfortunate that it took so much pressure for the platform to be responsive to those communities.”

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